• RACK(1) to the future - a historical perspective

      Ron, Dorit; Adams, David R; Baillie, George S; Long, Aideen; O’Connor, Rosemary; Kiely, Patrick A (2013-08-01)
      This perspective summarises the first and long overdue RACK1 meeting held at the University of Limerick, Ireland, May 2013, in which RACK1’s role in the immune system, the heart and the brain were discussed and its contribution to disease states such as cancer, cardiac hypertrophy and addiction were described. RACK1 is a scaffolding protein and a member of the WD repeat family of proteins. These proteins have a unique architectural assembly that facilitates protein anchoring and the stabilisation of protein activity. A large body of evidence is accumulating which is helping to define the versatile role of RACK1 in assembling and dismantling complex signaling pathways from the cell membrane to the nucleus in health and disease. In this commentary, we first provide a historical perspective on RACK1. We also address many of the pertinent and topical questions about this protein such as its role in transcription, epigenetics and translation, its cytoskeletal contribution and the merits of targeting RACK1 in disease.
    • RACK1, A Multifaceted Scaffolding Protein: Structure and Function

      Adams, David R; Ron, Dorit; Kiely, Patrick A (2011-10-06)
      Abstract The Receptor for Activated C Kinase 1 (RACK1) is a member of the tryptophan-aspartate repeat (WD-repeat) family of proteins and shares significant homology to the β subunit of G-proteins (Gβ). RACK1 adopts a seven-bladed β-propeller structure which facilitates protein binding. RACK1 has a significant role to play in shuttling proteins around the cell, anchoring proteins at particular locations and in stabilising protein activity. It interacts with the ribosomal machinery, with several cell surface receptors and with proteins in the nucleus. As a result, RACK1 is a key mediator of various pathways and contributes to numerous aspects of cellular function. Here, we discuss RACK1 gene and structure and its role in specific signaling pathways, and address how posttranslational modifications facilitate subcellular location and translocation of RACK1. This review condenses several recent studies suggesting a role for RACK1 in physiological processes such as development, cell migration, central nervous system (CN) function and circadian rhythm as well as reviewing the role of RACK1 in disease.
    • A randomised controlled trial of a lengthened and multi-disciplinary consultation model in a socially deprived community: a study protocol.

      Whitford, David L; Chan, Wai-Sun; Family and Community Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland-Medical University of Bahrain, Adliya, Kingdom of Bahrain. dwhitford@rcsi-mub.com (2007)
      BACKGROUND: There has been little development of the general practice consultation over the years, and many aspects of the present consultation do not serve communities with multiple health and social problems well. Many of the problems presenting to general practitioners in socio-economically disadvantaged areas are not amenable to a purely medical solution, and would particularly benefit from a multidisciplinary approach. Socio-economic deprivation is also associated with those very factors (more psychosocial problems, greater need for health promotion, more chronic diseases, more need for patient enablement) that longer consultations have been shown to address. This paper describes our study protocol, which aims to evaluate whether a lengthened multidisciplinary primary care team consultation with families in a socially deprived area can improve the psychological health of mothers in the families. METHODS/DESIGN: In a randomised controlled trial, families with a history of social problems, substance misuse or depression are randomly allocated to an intervention or control group. The study is based in three general practices in a highly deprived area of North Dublin. Primary health care teams will be trained in conducting a multidisciplinary lengthened consultation. Families in the intervention group will participate in the new style multidisciplinary consultation. Outcomes of families receiving the intervention will be compared to the control group who will receive only usual general practitioner care. The primary outcome is the psychological health of mothers of the families and secondary outcomes include general health status, quality of life measures and health service usage. DISCUSSION: The main aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a lengthened multidisciplinary team consultation in primary care. The embedded nature of this study in general practices in a highly deprived area ensures generalisability to other deprived communities, but more particularly it promises relevance to primary care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN70578736.
    • A randomised controlled trial of an exercise plus behaviour change intervention in people with multiple sclerosis: the step it up study protocol

      Coote, Susan; Gallagher, Stephen; Msetfi, Rachel; Larkin, Aidan; Newell, John; Motl, Robert W; Hayes, Sara (2014-12-21)
    • Randomized controlled trial comparing telephone and mail follow-up for recruitment of participants into a clinical trial of colorectal cancer screening

      Wong, Arthur D; Kirby, John; Guyatt, Gordon H; Moayyedi, Paul; Vora, Parag; You, John J (2013-02-11)
      Abstract Background Investigators often face challenges when recruiting participants into randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Some data suggest that telephone reminders may lead to greater participant enrollment. Methods Patients aged 50 to 70 years from family practice rosters were initially mailed invitations to participate in an RCT of colorectal cancer screening. Patients who did not respond were randomly allocated to follow-up invitations by either telephone or mail four weeks after the initial invitation. The primary outcome was attendance for eligibility screening with the study nurse. Results After mailing invitations to 1,348 patients, 104 patients were initially enrolled in the RCT of colon cancer screening. Of 952 patients who did not respond to the initial mailed invitation, we randomly allocated 480 to follow-up invitation by telephone and 472 to follow-up invitation by mail. Attendance for eligibility screening with the study nurse was more frequent when non-responders were followed-up by telephone (84/480, 17.5%) than by mail (43/472, 9.1%) (relative risk (RR) 1.92, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.36 to 2.71, P < 0.001). Enrollment into the RCT was also greater among patients followed-up by telephone (59/480, 12.3%) compared to those followed-up by mail (35/472, 7.4%) (RR 1.66, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.47, P=0.01). Conclusions Telephone-based follow-up results in greater enrollment compared to a mail-based method. Our findings should be of interest to investigators conducting RCTs, particularly trials of screening interventions involving asymptomatic participants for which volunteer participation may be challenging. Trial registration Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00865527
    • A randomized controlled trial of the computerized CBT programme, MoodGYM, for public mental health service users waiting for interventions

      Twomey, Conal; O'Reilly, Gary; Byrne, Michael; Bury, Matthew; White, Aisling; Kissane, Sheila; McMahon, Aisling; Clancy, Nicola; School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Ireland (British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2014-05)
    • Randomized controlled trial to evaluate tooth stain reduction with nicotine replacement gum during a smoking cessation program

      Whelton, Helen; Kingston, Rose; O’Mullane, Denis; Nilsson, Frederick (2012-06-13)
      AbstractBackgroundIn addition to its general and periodontal health effects smoking causes tooth staining. Smoking cessation support interventions with an added stain removal or tooth whitening effect may increase motivation to quit smoking. Oral health professionals are well placed to provide smoking cessation advice and support to patients. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of Nicorette® Freshmint Gum used in a smoking cessation programme administered in a dental setting, on extrinsic stain and tooth shade among smokers.MethodsAn evaluator-blinded, randomized, 12-week parallel-group controlled trial was conducted among 200 daily smokers motivated to quit smoking. Participants were randomised to use either the Nicorette® Freshmint Gum or Nicorette® Microtab (tablet). Tooth staining and shade were rated using the modified Lobene Stain Index and the Vita® Shade Guide at baseline, weeks 2, 6 and 12. To maintain consistency with other whitening studies, the primary end-point was the mean change in stain index between baseline and week 6. Secondary variables included changes in stain measurements and tooth shade at the other time points the number of gums or tablets used per day and throughout the trial period; and the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Treatments were compared using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), using treatment and nicotine dependence as factors and the corresponding baseline measurement as a covariate. Each comparison (modified intention-to-treat) was tested at the 0.05 level, two-sided. Within-treatment changes from baseline were compared using a paired t-test.ResultsAt week 6, the gum-group experienced a reduction in mean stain scores whilst the tablet-group experienced an increase with mean changes of -0.14 and +0.12 respectively, (p = 0.005, ANCOVA). The change in mean tooth shade scores was statistically significantly greater in the gum-group than in the tablet group at 2 (p = 0.015), 6 (p = 0.011) and 12 weeks (p = 0.003) with greater lightening in the gum-group at each examination period.ConclusionThese results support the efficacy of the tested nicotine replacement gum in stain reduction and shade lightening. These findings may help dentists to motivate those wishing to quit smoking using a nicotine replacement gum.Trial registrationNCT01440985
    • Rapamycin regulates autophagy and cell adhesion in induced pluripotent stem cells

      Sotthibundhu, Areechun; McDonagh, Katya; von Kriegsheim, Alexander; Garcia-Munoz, Amaya; Klawiter, Agnieszka; Thompson, Kerry; Chauhan, Kapil D; Krawczyk, Janusz; McInerney, Veronica; Dockery, Peter; et al. (2016-11-15)
      Abstract Background Cellular reprogramming is a stressful process, which requires cells to engulf somatic features and produce and maintain stemness machineries. Autophagy is a process to degrade unwanted proteins and is required for the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). However, the role of autophagy during iPSC maintenance remains undefined. Methods Human iPSCs were investigated by microscopy, immunofluorescence, and immunoblotting to detect autophagy machinery. Cells were treated with rapamycin to activate autophagy and with bafilomycin to block autophagy during iPSC maintenance. High concentrations of rapamycin treatment unexpectedly resulted in spontaneous formation of round floating spheres of uniform size, which were analyzed for differentiation into three germ layers. Mass spectrometry was deployed to reveal altered protein expression and pathways associated with rapamycin treatment. Results We demonstrate that human iPSCs express high basal levels of autophagy, including key components of APMKα, ULK1/2, BECLIN-1, ATG13, ATG101, ATG12, ATG3, ATG5, and LC3B. Block of autophagy by bafilomycin induces iPSC death and rapamycin attenuates the bafilomycin effect. Rapamycin treatment upregulates autophagy in iPSCs in a dose/time-dependent manner. High concentration of rapamycin reduces NANOG expression and induces spontaneous formation of round and uniformly sized embryoid bodies (EBs) with accelerated differentiation into three germ layers. Mass spectrometry analysis identifies actin cytoskeleton and adherens junctions as the major targets of rapamycin in mediating iPSC detachment and differentiation. Conclusions High levels of basal autophagy activity are present during iPSC derivation and maintenance. Rapamycin alters expression of actin cytoskeleton and adherens junctions, induces uniform EB formation, and accelerates differentiation. IPSCs are sensitive to enzyme dissociation and require a lengthy differentiation time. The shape and size of EBs also play a role in the heterogeneity of end cell products. This research therefore highlights the potential of rapamycin in producing uniform EBs and in shortening iPSC differentiation duration.
    • Rapamycin regulates autophagy and cell adhesion in induced pluripotent stem cells

      Sotthibundhu, Areechun; McDonagh, Katya; von Kriegsheim, Alexander; Garcia-Munoz, Amaya; Klawiter, Agnieszka; Thompson, Kerry; Chauhan, Kapil D; Krawczyk, Janusz; McInerney, Veronica; Dockery, Peter; et al. (2016-11-15)
      Abstract Background Cellular reprogramming is a stressful process, which requires cells to engulf somatic features and produce and maintain stemness machineries. Autophagy is a process to degrade unwanted proteins and is required for the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). However, the role of autophagy during iPSC maintenance remains undefined. Methods Human iPSCs were investigated by microscopy, immunofluorescence, and immunoblotting to detect autophagy machinery. Cells were treated with rapamycin to activate autophagy and with bafilomycin to block autophagy during iPSC maintenance. High concentrations of rapamycin treatment unexpectedly resulted in spontaneous formation of round floating spheres of uniform size, which were analyzed for differentiation into three germ layers. Mass spectrometry was deployed to reveal altered protein expression and pathways associated with rapamycin treatment. Results We demonstrate that human iPSCs express high basal levels of autophagy, including key components of APMKα, ULK1/2, BECLIN-1, ATG13, ATG101, ATG12, ATG3, ATG5, and LC3B. Block of autophagy by bafilomycin induces iPSC death and rapamycin attenuates the bafilomycin effect. Rapamycin treatment upregulates autophagy in iPSCs in a dose/time-dependent manner. High concentration of rapamycin reduces NANOG expression and induces spontaneous formation of round and uniformly sized embryoid bodies (EBs) with accelerated differentiation into three germ layers. Mass spectrometry analysis identifies actin cytoskeleton and adherens junctions as the major targets of rapamycin in mediating iPSC detachment and differentiation. Conclusions High levels of basal autophagy activity are present during iPSC derivation and maintenance. Rapamycin alters expression of actin cytoskeleton and adherens junctions, induces uniform EB formation, and accelerates differentiation. IPSCs are sensitive to enzyme dissociation and require a lengthy differentiation time. The shape and size of EBs also play a role in the heterogeneity of end cell products. This research therefore highlights the potential of rapamycin in producing uniform EBs and in shortening iPSC differentiation duration.
    • A rapid evidence review on the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships

      Kelly, Ema; Doyle, Vicki; Weakliam, David; Schönemann, Yvonne (2015-12-14)
      Abstract Background Institutional Health Partnerships are long-term, institution to institution partnerships between high income and low and middle income countries which seek to build capacity and strengthen health institutions in order to improve health service delivery and outcomes. Funding for Institutional Health Partnerships has increased in recent years. This paper outlines a rapid evidence review on the effectiveness of this modality. Methods A rapid evidence review of published and grey literature was conducted. Content relating to the effectiveness of working in partnership and methods and frameworks used were extracted and analysed. The results of this analysis were used to structure a discussion regarding the next steps to strengthen the evidence base for the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. Results The evidence review, including citation mapping, returned 27 published papers and 17 grey literature documents that met all of the inclusion criteria. Most of the literature did not meet the high standards of formal academic rigour and there was no original research amongst this literature that specifically addressed the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. This was not surprising given institutional health partnerships do not lend themselves easily to case control studies and randomised control trials due to their high level of diversity and operation in complex social systems. There was, however, a body of practice based knowledge and experience. Conclusions Evidence for the effectiveness of Institutional Health Partnerships is thin both in terms of quantity and academic rigour. There is a need to better define and differentiate Institutional Health Partnerships in order to measure and compare effectiveness across such a diverse group. Effectiveness needs to be measured at the level of individual partnerships, the bodies that facilitate partnership programmes and the level of health service delivery. There is a need to develop indicators and frameworks that specifically address the benefits and values of partnership working and how these relate to effectiveness. These indicators need to be content neutral of specific interventions which are already measured through routine project monitoring and evaluation. This will allow the development of methodological pathways to assess the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. Until more primary research is conducted or published there is little benefit in further systematic reviews.
    • A rapid evidence review on the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships

      Kelly, Ema; Doyle, Vicki; Weakliam, David; Schönemann, Yvonne (2015-12-14)
      Abstract Background Institutional Health Partnerships are long-term, institution to institution partnerships between high income and low and middle income countries which seek to build capacity and strengthen health institutions in order to improve health service delivery and outcomes. Funding for Institutional Health Partnerships has increased in recent years. This paper outlines a rapid evidence review on the effectiveness of this modality. Methods A rapid evidence review of published and grey literature was conducted. Content relating to the effectiveness of working in partnership and methods and frameworks used were extracted and analysed. The results of this analysis were used to structure a discussion regarding the next steps to strengthen the evidence base for the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. Results The evidence review, including citation mapping, returned 27 published papers and 17 grey literature documents that met all of the inclusion criteria. Most of the literature did not meet the high standards of formal academic rigour and there was no original research amongst this literature that specifically addressed the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. This was not surprising given institutional health partnerships do not lend themselves easily to case control studies and randomised control trials due to their high level of diversity and operation in complex social systems. There was, however, a body of practice based knowledge and experience. Conclusions Evidence for the effectiveness of Institutional Health Partnerships is thin both in terms of quantity and academic rigour. There is a need to better define and differentiate Institutional Health Partnerships in order to measure and compare effectiveness across such a diverse group. Effectiveness needs to be measured at the level of individual partnerships, the bodies that facilitate partnership programmes and the level of health service delivery. There is a need to develop indicators and frameworks that specifically address the benefits and values of partnership working and how these relate to effectiveness. These indicators need to be content neutral of specific interventions which are already measured through routine project monitoring and evaluation. This will allow the development of methodological pathways to assess the effectiveness of institutional health partnerships. Until more primary research is conducted or published there is little benefit in further systematic reviews.
    • Rapid paracellular transmigration of Campylobacter jejuni across polarized epithelial cells without affecting TER: role of proteolytic-active HtrA cleaving E-cadherin but not fibronectin

      Boehm, Manja; Hoy, Benjamin; Rohde, Manfred; Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Bæk, Kristoffer T; Oyarzabal, Omar A; Brøndsted, Lone; Wessler, Silja; Backert, Steffen (2012-04-25)
      AbstractBackgroundCampylobacter jejuni is one of the most important bacterial pathogens causing food-borne illness worldwide. Crossing the intestinal epithelial barrier and host cell entry by C. jejuni is considered the primary reason of damage to the intestinal tissue, but the molecular mechanisms as well as major bacterial and host cell factors involved in this process are still widely unclear.ResultsIn the present study, we characterized the serine protease HtrA (high-temperature requirement A) of C. jejuni as a secreted virulence factor with important proteolytic functions. Infection studies and in vitro cleavage assays showed that C. jejuni’s HtrA triggers shedding of the extracellular E-cadherin NTF domain (90 kDa) of non-polarised INT-407 and polarized MKN-28 epithelial cells, but fibronectin was not cleaved as seen for H. pylori’s HtrA. Deletion of the htrA gene in C. jejuni or expression of a protease-deficient S197A point mutant did not lead to loss of flagella or reduced bacterial motility, but led to severe defects in E-cadherin cleavage and transmigration of the bacteria across polarized MKN-28 cell layers. Unlike other highly invasive pathogens, transmigration across polarized cells by wild-type C. jejuni is highly efficient and is achieved within a few minutes of infection. Interestingly, E-cadherin cleavage by C. jejuni occurs in a limited fashion and transmigration required the intact flagella as well as HtrA protease activity, but does not reduce transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) as seen with Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria or Neisseria.ConclusionThese results suggest that HtrA-mediated E-cadherin cleavage is involved in rapid crossing of the epithelial barrier by C. jejuni via a very specific mechanism using the paracellular route to reach basolateral surfaces, but does not cleave the fibronectin receptor which is necessary for cell entry.
    • A rare benign renal tumour presenting as polycythaemia in a teenage girl.

      Geoghegan, S; Fitzpatrick, J M; McGuire, B; O'Malley, K J; Shaw, C; Fabre, A; Department of Urology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Eccles St, Dublin 7. (2010-04)
      We present the case of a 15-year-old girl who presented with polycythemia. CT abdomen revealed an enhancing mass in the upper pole of her left kidney with features suggestive of renal cell carcinoma. She underwent a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy. Histology demonstrated a well circumscribed, focally encapsulated, round blue cell tumour showing areas of microcalcifications and numerous psammoma bodies. Imunostaining showed diffuse positive staining for CD 57. This was consistent with a diagnosis of metanephric adenoma a rare benign epithelial renal tumour.
    • Rational design of improved pharmabiotics.

      Sleator, Roy D; Hill, Colin; Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Ireland. roy.sleator@cit.ie (2009)
      Herein we review the most recent advances in probiotic research and applications with particular emphasis on the novel concept of patho-biotechnology: the application of pathogen-derived (ex vivo and in vivo) stress survival strategies for the design of more technologically robust and effective probiotic cultures with improved biotechnological and clinical applications.
    • A RCT evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of academic detailing versus postal prescribing feedback in changing GP antibiotic prescribing.

      Naughton, Corina; Feely, John; Bennett, Kathleen; UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. corina.naughton@ucd.ie (Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 2009-10)
      The aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of academic detailing (AD) plus postal prescribing feedback versus postal prescribing feedback alone in reducing: (i) the overall rate of antibiotic; and (ii) proportion of second-line antibiotic prescribing. In addition, the cost-effectiveness of an outreach prescriber adviser service versus a postal prescribing feedback service was evaluated.